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A venial orgasm…

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OK, before we go any further, allow me to explain the title of this week’s column. “A venial orgasm” is simply an anagram of the words “I love anagrams” which is the actual (hidden) title of the column.

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An anagram is a word or a phrase that can be formed by rearranging the letters of another word or phrase. But you probably already knew that.

Oh, and speaking of anagrams (yes, this is the theme of this week’s column) – I happened upon a fascinating (possibly addictive) website a while back and thought some of my fun-seeking readers might enjoy it as much as I did. Most veteran surfers of the Net have likely visited the site but in case you missed it, here’s the address: wordsmith.org/anagram

The user-friendly home page is so straightforward and easy to navigate even I felt comfortable. Once you have chosen the search option: simply type a name, a word, or a phrase in the box provided – then point and click. And in just a few seconds a list of anagrams will magically appear. Lists vary in length and you never know what you will get. I discovered, for example, that one of the many anagrams for Maple Leafs is “female pals”… Hmm, could this be some sort of subliminal message? No wonder they were bounced in the first round of the playoffs. Clearly this team needs a bit more grit.

It’s a safe bet most of us have anagrammatized at one time or other. It’s a great time-waster and almost everyone can do that. As kids we experimented with writing and pronouncing our names backwards. And when we tired of that, we jumbled up the letters to see what we could spell. Oh, and speaking of things jumbled – here’s one more revelation from the magic box: the phrase “Lovely Mr. Rut” popped-up when I requested anagrams of Terry Vollum. And no, I won’t even try to explain that one.

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This fascination and curiosity with word salads is likely the reason kids today are captivated by the clever anagrams sprinkled throughout the Harry Potter books. Yes it’s smart, stimulating storytelling – but it’s also a whole lot of fun.

Meanwhile, back at the website, there’s an entire page devoted to the Anagram Hall of Fame. Here’s a small sample of the thought-provoking anagrams you will find there: Dormitory = dirty room; Listen = silent; Slot machines = cash lost in ‘em; Debit card = bad credit; Evangelist = Evil’s agent; The countryside = no city dust here.

One of the many anagrams for Community Press is “try mince possum”. Mmm, as tasty as it sounds, I think I’ll wait to sample that delicacy – along with all other truly inspired road kill recipes.

But we digress.

I wonder: is there wisdom to be found in anagrams? Can we possibly gain some insight, or make predictions by attempting to interpret them? Perhaps. But let’s be careful out there: What might possibly be construed as inspired prophecy could very well be nothing more than coincidence or a happy accident. Let’s face it, so many more ridiculous things are concluded from analyzing tea leaves, gazing into crystal balls, interpreting cloud patterns, or examining wrinkled lines on the palm of a hand.

OK, that’s all for this week. And don’t forget to visit the anagram website.

Terry Vollum serves up a little Country Sunshine each and every week and welcomes your comments at: countrysunshine@xplornet.ca

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